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October 27, 2009

Top Ten Ways to Use Twitter for Marketing

Twitter is a micro-blogging site that asks you a basic question, “What are you doing?” It allows anyone with an account to write up to 140 characters in a text field as a means to update, comment, promote or communicate to others who are “following” you. When people follow you, they see what you’ve recently contributed when they login. They see your “tweets”, which are the messages you leave.

And of course you can follow others who tweet about the things that interest you. As an Internet marketer you may want to follow other Internet marketers, for example.

Like anything, and this is especially true of working with social media, the more you give, the more you get. In other words, the more often you tweet the more activity you’ll generate. Some suggest that you tweet a few times a day, every day. Not every tweet needs to be profound. But they should all be useful.

It’s important that you don’t abuse Twitter for marketing and promoting your products, services or affiliate links. Most of your tweets ought to be about offering your followers useful and valuable information. Only once in a while should you try to use Twitter to promote something. Otherwise you’ll be perceived as a spammer, and no one wants that tag.

Imagine if you had a large number of people following your tweets? Some people have tens of thousands following them. If you had something to promote and you had a large following, you could quickly and efficiently alert a lot of people of your promotion. It acts sort of like an opt-in mass emailing blast to your house email list, but it’s a heck of a lot easier and faster. This is the power of Twitter.

One thing that I’ve noticed with Twitter is that it can seem overwhelming at times. The sheer information on Twitter, the ‘how-to’s’, tutorials and all the other ubiquitous advice on how to use and take advantage of it can seem hard to understand and implement. So here’s an easy-to-understand list of the top ten ways in which you can use Twitter to market yourself, your business and your website.

The Top 10 Ways To Use Twitter for Marketing:

  1. Use it to promote new pieces of content you or your company create to drive traffic to your site. From online articles to blog posts or from videos to webinars, each time you add something to the Web that is of value, tweet about it and include a link. (Most people on Twitter use www.TinyURL.com to take a long URL and make it short.)
  2. Use it for learning new marketing ideas, strategies and techniques. If you follow the right people, and you have to be picky about who you follow, you’ll get pointed to a good amount of useful tutorials, videos, e-zines and other things that teach you about marketing.
  3. Use it to get new customers. Use Twitter’s search to find people who may be interested in your product or service. There are many ingenious ways to search for people on Twitter. For example, if you sell red widgets you could go to http://search.twitter.com and find people who have tweeted specifically looking for red widgets. To do this, type the following into the search box: red widgets?
    1. You’ll notice a lot of the results will be of others selling red widgets. These ones will all obviously have links in them to direct people to the site they’re selling red widgets on. To weed these people/tweets out, use the negative sign like this: -http red widgets?
    2. Since every link has ‘http’ in it, using the negative sign in front of it will cause your search results to not include any tweets with links in them.
  4. Use it to build your email list. Use Twitter’s search to find people who may be interested in the monthly newsletter you send out to your opt-in house email list. Invite these people to join.
  5. Utilize Twitter plugins or add-ons such as TweetMyBlog or The Twitter Updater, which both automatically make tweets of every new blog post you publish. Also check out TwitThis. When visitors to your website click on the TwitThis button or link, it takes the URL of the Web page and creates a shorter URL using TinyURL. Then visitors can send this shortened URL and a description of the web page to all of their followers on Twitter. Finally, look at TweetLater, a service that allows you to write lots of tweets at once and then schedule them to go out over time.
  6. Use it to build buzz about an upcoming product or website launch.
  7. Use it to better brand yourself or your business. Remember, when someone wants to learn more about you or your company, they are increasingly using sites like Twitter for research. You could easily use Twitter to establish yourself as an authority in your field.
  8. Use it to update followers on breaking news regarding your company. If your company is mentioned in a new article, tweet about it and include a link to the article. Or if you’re at a conference or trade show, you could tweet what you’re doing and invite people to visit you in person.
  9. Use it for business networking, master-mind groups (see Napoleon Hill), and getting yourself seen by high-profile people in your industry.
  10. Use it as an instant messaging system to keep your and your team on the same page during projects. This is especially useful for those who work with teams spread out in different cities or countries.

You should note that this top 10 list is not in order of importance or in any particular order. I suggest that you give Twitter a try if you haven’t already. See if you can apply a few of these techniques and tactics to help you take advantage of Twitter as a marketing tool.

And one more important thing to remember is that there is no silver bullet in marketing. You should always be trying and implementing numerous tactics when marketing your business. Don’t only rely on Twitter or any other one thing. Instead, use Twitter (or any other Web 2.0 site) as simply one more tool in your entire social media and marketing toolbox.


Jason OConnor is an Web consultant, writes for The Net Gazette, a Web marketing newsletter, and owns Oak Web Works, LLC, a Web design and marketing company at http://www.oakwebworks.com/

13 Responses to “Top Ten Ways to Use Twitter for Marketing

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    avatar Think Like a User says:

    There’s some excellent advice here on how to use twitter for business, steering very clear of some of the spammy techniques that are used by the less experienced.

    I particularly liked the way you mentioned searching for the red widgets, looking for people to form commercial relationships witn – that helpful advice offered really does boost credibility for businesses.

    Success is all about that kind of thing – entering into a respectful dialog with prospects and customers.

    Cheers.

    avatar John Halls says:

    Great article on Twitter, but one thing needs to be cleared up.

    Twitter users don’t CHOOSE to use tinyURL to shorten their long URL’s. Twitter has a deal going with tinyURL and long links are AUTOMATICALLY shortened using their service.

    Apparently, a lot of other URL shortening services got their noses out of joint when tinyURL got the Twitter gig.

    With the standard limit of 140 characters per Tweet, something HAD to be done to handle long URL’s and this answer was just what the doctor ordered.

    Keep up the great informative reviews you present to your readers.

    Aussie John

    avatar Teasastips says:

    The new Twitter List creation option is a great way to organize tweets. It also is an option that will lend further search credibility to Twitter.

    avatar satya says:

    Post like these are quite interesting to read because the way its presented its quite simple to understand. I am very glad to go through the post. Thank you very much.

    avatar Sheila says:

    Can you help me to understand the new Beata List feature on Twitter? I created my own list and have found that paople are now following my list. How did they find my list and how do I find other people that I would like to follow their List? And most importantly, what is the primary purpose of the Lists?
    Thanks, Sheila

    Thanks Jason. Looking forward to following you on Twitter!

    avatar Twitter for Marketing | Miami Web Design says:

    […] Read the full article here Twitter for Marketing […]

    avatar James Moody says:

    Thank you Jason for a very informative article on a subject that I have been trying to educate myself on.

    Aussie John – I’m curious about the tinyurl.com comment. Has Twitter built that into their system in some way? I’m not seeing it on the Twitter.com website and tried testing it with a few friends, but we came up empty. Thanks for any insights.

    avatar Barney says:

    Thanks Jason, very informative post. Adding to the point on list they seem to substantiate twitter a bit and make is more users friendly. However it will be another twitter popularity contest area?

    I think it will slowly die down though but it is a great tool for marketing if done right. You need to give something away now and then to keep em coming back.

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